My wife and I are both self-employed and lucky to be able to support ourselves while working from home. Now that we have added a baby to our family, though, it has thrown our work/life balance completely off kilter. We used to have such an amazing work routine, where we could both go to the gym when we felt like it, work during our peak creative hours, and take off on adventures any time of the day. Now, all bets are off and we’ve struggled to find a new balance where we can take care of our baby while both parents work from home. Luckily, we’ve picked up some great tricks along the way that have really helped us.
Here’s how we organize our lives to really make working from home with a baby work for us:
Nap Time = Work Time
When baby falls asleep, we know we have between forty-five minutes and two hours of uninterrupted work time. We have to use it wisely, because that time is precious. You would not believe the amount of stuff you can get done when you are working against a ticking clock. Working during baby naps means a lot of concentrated work in very small bursts.
Work During Your Peak Hours
My wife is a morning person, and I am a night owl. Initially this meant that she would be up in the morning with our little one, while I would handle the late night diaper changes. What we discovered, though, is that we were using our peak creative hours wrong! If you are a morning person, use the morning hours for getting your work done and then trade off later in the day.
Make a Schedule
A lot of the pressure and baby responsibility falls on Mom, just because she is baby’s main food source. No matter what else happens during the day, every three hours she is attached to either the baby or the breast pump. It is Dad’s responsibility to help out by relieving some of that pressure and giving Mom some uninterrupted work time. If all goes according to plan, each parent should still be able to get in a full day’s work by trading time with the little one.
Even though we are working from home, we do still have some assistance when it comes to child care. A couple of day’s a week, grandma comes over to help out by watching the baby for a few hours. We can all still be home, but it allows both parents to work. (We can even steal away for a mid-week lunch date!)
Get Out of the House
Working from home can often lead to cabin fever. You have to make sure to get out of the house, or you will go crazy. Take walks, run errands, and just get some sunshine. Whether you are going out with the baby to give your partner time to work or you all go out together to get away from the office for a bit, it is the most important part of any workday. You will burn out if you forget to take a break!
I hope some of those tips help you if you are struggling to get through your day as a work-from-home parent. We love our new life with the little guy and wouldn’t trade it for anything. It is all about finding the right work/life balance, though, and we are slowly but surely making our way. What other tips do you have for making the most of your day with a new baby in the house?
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